Last weekend the East Coast once again found itself the epicenter of extreme music with the A389 Records Bash featuring rare reunions by Left For Dead and Catharsis in Baltimore, Neurosis playing Philly and NYC, and of course the focus of this feature; Decibel Magazine’s 100th Issue Celebration Show at Philly’s Union Transfer with Converge, Pig Destroyer, Municipal Waste, Repulsion, Tombs, and Evoken. Blow The Scene was on hand for all of these momentous events, but we’ll start with this spectacular showcase.
With major print magazines like Newsweek and Spin being pulled from store shelves, it may come as a surprise to some that Decibel Magazine is celebrating its 100th issue as a thriving champion of extreme music and the printed word. With 10 years of metal news, interviews, reviews, debuts, and more, Decibel has carved and irreplaceable niche within the metal world. This was evidenced by the sold-out crowd that packed Philly’s Union Transfer venue to pay homage.
Unsurprisingly, the audience, as well as the performance list read the Who’s Who of American metal. Apart from the announced participants, we bumped into our friend Liam Wilson of Dillinger Escape Plan, John Baizley of Baroness (who joined Converge on stage for an amazing rendition of “Coral Blue“), Albert Mudrian (founder of Decibel), Tomas Lindberg of Disfear/ At The Gates (who came out and performed a cover with Municipal Waste), John Darnielle (of Mountain Goats), Relapse Records staff, and many more.
The bill started promptly at 7 and continued well past midnight with no band skimping on set times. The show was chock full of special and rare moments as Union Transfer played host to gathering of some of the music community’s finest.
Evoken and Tombs set the evening in motion, both supplying lengthy sets that immediately demanded the full-attention of attendees. But the craziness truly began as thrash titans, Municipal Waste took the stage. Before the opening notes even launched through the PA, the crowd erupted into a frenzy of crowd-surfers, stage-divers, and subsequent circle-pits that ensued as riffs fired off in every direction. The band tore through choice cuts from its latest full-length, The Fatal Feast, to compliment a hearty dose of tracks that spanned their colored career.
Repulsion followed up with a rare appearance and the band’s first in Philadelphia that simply melted faces with a barrage of some of the most technical and punishing death metal you will find west of the Mississippi.
Pig Destroyer may very well have been the fan favorite of the night and proceeded to turn ruble into ash with a set that showcased several tracks off of new Book Burner album and choice selections from past albums Terrorizer, Phantom Limb, and 38 Counts of Battery. To describe the crowd as “elated,” would be an understatement.
Converge took the stage as friend and Baroness frontman, John Dyer Baizley presented some opening thoughts. The renowned frontman has begun the slow transition back into the limelight after surviving a very serious bus crash in the UK last August where he suffering extensive broken bones and muscle damages. We caught up with Baizley last May for an exclusive video interview on heels of the release of Yellow & Green.
I was in the hospital for awhile..too long. I was going through what I would describe as the worst thing, physically and mentally, that one could go through.. There came a point when I needed something to get me past the hump that I was in. That state of pain or depression, or whatever it was.. I thought, ‘So music is thing that is supposed to sooth the savage beast’ I had my wife bring me a collection of mellow songs.. Emmylou Harris, old country stuff mostly..When I was listening and trying to relax and get myself through this difficult time, I would be up scared shitless- I thought I had lost the ability to enjoy music. I thought I had lost the magic that music had over me. And this went on for several weeks. It was very difficult. I think it was about three-and-a-half weeks after the crash, I had the new Converge record and I was like, ‘Well, Emmylou is not doing it for me, let’s try the opposite.’ And that record brought me back into the fold. Thank you for writing music that truly inspires, and I mean this when I say this- That truly rehabilitates. Not just offers me a release from aggressions or from bullshit, but something that helps me look forward to tomorrow when today is as tough as it gets.
Needless to say, Converge put in appearance that more than enforced Baizley‘s sentiment and the prevailing mood of the show. Apart from an unforgiving and energetic performance, fans were treated to some rare live selections, including “Locust Reign” from Converge‘s 1999 split with Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Concertgoers went gaga as Baizley returned to the stage and participated in a crushing rendition of “Coral Blue” from Converge‘s latest on Epitaph and Deathwish, All We Love We Leave Behind.
And on that note, we hope this massive picture gallery by our ever-talented and dedicated Senior Staff Photographer, Dante Torrieri (Useless Rebel Imaging) will bring you back into the fold of that magical evening. Enjoy.
Words by Editor-in-Chief, Joshua T. Cohen.